Friday, December 11, 2009

The Story to the North

Densho is located a few hours from the Canadian border. Hapa speed skater Apolo Ohno is a local hero. So, with the winter Olympics about to descend on Vancouver, British Columbia, we read an article by Greg Robinson with keen interest. An American professor at the l'Université du Québec a Montréal, Robinson investigates differences in racial attitudes towards people of Japanese descent among Canadians divided by British and French heritage. The Discover Nikkei website posted Part 1 and Part 2 of the article this month.

The harsh treatment of Japanese Canadians surpassed that imposed on Japanese Americans: their property was seized and sold off, they were sent to work in former mining towns, and until 1949 they could not return to the West Coast without threat of involuntary deportation to Japan. The displaced population migrated primarily to Montreal, where they encountered more indifference than hostility from French Canadians. But after the war, both Anglo- and Francophone politicians nearly succeeded in passing legislation to strip Japanese Canadians of their citizenship and deport them to Japan. Luckily, public opinion prevented further ethnic cleansing.

Friday, December 4, 2009

KABC news story about Rescue of the Lost Battalion

KABC in Los Angeles did an excellent TV news story about the 65th anniversary reunion of the men who were at the rescue of the Lost Battalion. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated infantry unit made up of Japanese Americans, suffered heavy losses to rescue a group of Texas soldiers in France during World War II.

International Lives: The Horiuchi Interviews

"The Nikkei I knew that were involved in the occupation...they were able to work more closely with the Japanese because the Japanese looked upon them as someone that could understand their culture, their history, and their motivation." --Lucius Horiuchi

Last year Densho interviewed Maynard and Lucius Horiuchi in Sonoma, California. With a generous grant from the Tateuchi Foundation, their interviews became the first in the Densho collection to be translated into Japanese. Their bilingual presence in the Digital Archive is utterly appropriate since the couple met in Japan, where Maynard worked for the U.S. embassy and Lucius served in the foreign service after the war. Theirs is an international story in more than one respect.

Read more of this article.